George Sawyn | Christmas Moods

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Easy Listening: Mood Music Jazz: Smooth Jazz Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Christmas Moods

by George Sawyn

Christmas songs on 2 guitars, both played by me via multi-track recording; acoustic and electric guitars. Several tunes feature computer programmed percussion and bass tracks.
Genre: Easy Listening: Mood Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Jingle Bell Rock
2:37 album only
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2. Up On The Housetop
2:45 album only
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3. Silent Night
3:57 album only
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4. Sleigh Ride
3:11 album only
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5. Winter Wonderland
3:25 album only
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6. The Little Drummer Boy
4:56 album only
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7. I'll Be Home For Christmas
3:43 album only
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8. Deck The Halls
3:15 album only
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9. We Three Kings
4:54 album only
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10. Frosty The Snowman
2:46 album only
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11. The First Noel/Away In A Manger
5:15 album only

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
You just can’t help it. From the happy opening with Jingle Bell Rock and Up on the Housetop to the winsome I’ll be Home for Christmas and the soft finale of Away in a Manger, you know two things about George Sawyn: that he’s a musician who plays with his heart as well as his guitar, and that he knows what it’s like to share joyous Christmases with family and friends.

Christmas Moods is a CD that wraps up all the varying emotions of this favorite of seasons into a tidy package tied with original arrangements and topped with a joyful bow of musical surprises. Who would expect to hear The First Noel played with an acoustic guitar tuned to C-wahine as done by a Hawaiian slack-key guitarist; or to recognize an arrangement of Jingle Bell Rock similar to that of Chet Atkins, George’s “first and all-time favorite guitarist”?

This is not an album of imitations, however. It’s a salute to people, places, memories, traditions and emotions that belong to George alone, plucked out of his guitars with his own unique skill and style, accompanied by no other musicians than those he has simulated from his synthesizers and special music programs.

Listeners will enjoy the familiarity of old favorites, but will also be charmed by the new way of hearing them—a way coaxed from the individual strings of George’s guitars, and the personal memories of his heart.

The following comes from George's own CD liner notes:

1. Jingle Bell Rock - Acoustic guitar and Electric guitar; this is the first Christmas song I ever heard played by Chet Atkins. The arrangement is very similar to his, with a bit more jazz improv in the middle.

2. Up On The Housetop - Acoustic guitar and Electric guitar; I was imagining Pat Metheny accompanied by Leo Kottke...

3. Silent Night - Acoustic guitar and Electric guitar; soft and relaxing.

4. Sleigh Ride - Two electric guitars with drums and bass generated by Band-In-A-Box, and performed by my Macintosh. A jazz quartet.

5. Winter Wonderland - Acoustic guitar and Electric guitar with some interactive improvisation in the middle.

6. The Little Drummer Boy - Acoustic guitar and Electric guitar, with bass, drums, and a Latin percussion section arranged by me and played by my Mac.

7. I'll Be Home For Christmas - Acoustic guitar and Electric guitar; another soft, mellow ballad.

8. Deck The Halls - Acoustic guitar and Electric guitar, with a percussion section; all of the percussion sounds on this tune were made on guitars, then layered and looped on the Mac.

9. We Three Kings - Acoustic guitar and Electric guitar; the image I had on this piece was of a minstrel standing outside the old castle in Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky.

10. Frosty The Snowman - Two electric guitars with a hiphop rhythm section generated by Band-In-A-Box. I thought of the lyrics, "Thumpety thump thump, thumpety thump thump, look at Frosty go," and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this arrangement. My playing generally favors the soft and mellow, but once in awhile, something rowdy comes out...

11. The First Noel/Away In A Manger - Acoustic guitar and Electric guitar; two of the most beautiful Christmas songs ever. The acoustic guitar is tuned to C-wahine, a tuning used by the Hawaiian slack-key guitarist Keola Beamer, and the ending is from the Chet Atkins arrangement of The First Noel.

George Sawyn comes from a family in which music was just taken for granted. Everyone played an instrument or sang—melody or harmony—with the kind of talent that looks effortless. Nevertheless, George spent five years taking piano lessons and then, motivated by peer pressure and rock ‘n’ roll, he switched to guitar. There he found his forte, and a love for a whole universe of musical styles, including jazz, country, folk, ethnic and classical. He began working professionally in 1972, combining his talents with that of some of the Chicago area’s finest musicians, working with large bands and small groups. Most recently, he has added regular performances in Door County, Wis., where he’s had more scope for experimenting with his improvisational pieces—music not just BY George, but also FROM George, from that musical core that’s his alone.

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